Evolution could speed net downloads

Survival of the Fittest(..bandwidth)! It turns out that the popular evolutionist scientist may have left with us more than just records of animals on a lonely island and the idea behind natural selection.

Internet download speeds could be improved dramatically by mimicking Darwin's evolution to "breed" the best networking strategies, say computer scientists.

Transferring popular data across the internet repeatedly can be inefficient and costly, so networking companies have developed ways of temporarily storing, or "caching", data at different locations to reduce costs and increase download speeds.

But figuring out where to store data and for how long is a complex problem. One solution might be to have caches "talk" to each other repeatedly, but this is inefficient as it takes up a lot of bandwidth.

To tackle the challenge, Pablo Funes of US company Icosystem and Jürgen Branke and Frederik Theil of the University of Karlsruhe in Germany used "genetic algorithms", which mimic Darwinian evolution, to develop strategies for internet servers to use when caching data. Using a simulation they were able to improve download speeds over existing caching schemes.

The researchers evolved algorithms for specific types of network, for example networks with a bottleneck. But they also developed algorithms that worked well on various types of network.

News source: New Scientist - Complete Article

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